The Numismatic Bibliomania Society

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Welcome to The E-Sylum: Volume 6, Number 29, July 20, 2003:
an electronic publication of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.
Copyright (c) 2003, The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.


  NBS President Pete Smith reports the following results
  of our recent election:

  President: Pete Smith
  Vice President: John W. Adams
  Secretary-Treasurer: W. David Perkins
  Board of Governors:
     Phil Carrigan
     John Kraljevich, Jr.
     Karl Moulton
     Joel Orosz
     P. Scott Rubin
     David Sklow

  Congratulations to all, and welcome to the newcomers
  Carrigan, Moulton and Perkins.


  Allan Davisson has stepped up to the plate to offer a
  copy of Bill Daehn's Annotated Bibliography of articles on
  ancient Greek coins for the NBS donation auction at the
  annual meeting.   Who's next?


  Howard A. Daniel III will be manning a club table at the
  ANA convention in Baltimore where materials for the
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS) will be distributed.  The
  table will also have material for Numismatics International (NI)
  and the International Bank Note Society (IBNS).

  Howard welcomes visitors and all NBS members and E-Sylum
  subscribers are invited to relax there, but it would be nice to
  have a volunteer or two to sit in for him once in awhile.  So if
  you're at the show please say hello to Howard and if you can,
  please spell him for a while at the table.  Also: if anyone has any
  numismatic "stuff" that can be given away at the table, please
  bring it and Howard will see that it finds a home with a new


  Myron Xenos writes: "We are looking for applicants to be
  contestants at a numismatic question and answer contest to
  be held in Baltimore at the ANA convention, on Friday night,
  August 1st.   If you have a good general knowledge of
  numismatics and don't mind getting cheered, booed,
  applauded and humiliated by the audience, you can have a
  great time and get bragging rights if you win.  Small prizes
  will be awarded.

  To join in the hour of fun and games, e-mail me at
  mdxenos at .  I guarantee you will enjoy it."


  Fred Lake writes: "The prices realized list for our sale #69
  which closed on July 15, 2003 is now posted on our web site

  Please scroll down (or click on the "2003" link) to go to sale
  #69 and you will see the links to either the list in PDF or Word

  Many thanks to our consignors and bidders for making this
  another interesting sale. Please note that our sale #70 will
  have a closing date of September 16, 2003 and will feature
  Part I. of the library of Dr. William E. Hopkins, Early
  American Coppers members #85.


  The American Congress bestowed a Congressional Gold
  Medal on Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday,
  July 17th.  Dick Johnson reports that Blair's mention of the
  first such medal, the famous "Washington Before Boston"
  medal drew laughter at a joint session of Congress.  Here
  is what he said after expressing thanks for this award:

  "Mr. Speaker, sir, my thrill on receiving this award was
  only a little diminished on being told that the first Congressional
  Gold Medal was awarded to George Washington for what
  Congress called his 'wise and spirited conduct' in getting
  rid of the British out of Boston."

  [Blair also made reference to the Library of Congress.
  "On our way down here, Senator Frist was kind enough to
  show me the fireplace where, in 1814, the British had burnt
  the Congress Library. I know this is, kind of, late, but sorry."

  The medal has been awarded  to a British leader only once
  before.  Sir Winston Churchill was given the award
  posthumously in 1969.   The first link below is to one press
  account of Blair's speech.  The second link is to an official
  page listing all awardees since 1776.

  I've only seen one original Congressional Gold Medal, that
  of General Matthew B. Ridgeway.  It was awarded in 1990.
  I was somewhat in awe to hold the piece in my hand.  I believe
  it was nearly six ounces of gold, and a beautiful piece of the
  engraver's art.   The U.S. Mint web site didn't seem to have
  much information on the Congressional Gold Medals.  Does
  anyone know who designed and engraved the new Blair medal?


  Web site visitor Darlene A. Johnson of Westminster, MA
  writes:  "Would you have any information on the whereabouts
  of the "bas relief" of Dr. Malcolm Storer, the author of
  "Numismatics of Massachusetts" published in 1923 by the
  Massachusetts Historical Society  "My second cousin,
  Madeleine A. Bartlett of Boston was the sculptor of this work
  as noted in "Contemporary American Sculpture", 1929.
  I have been trying to find evidence of her art.  Thanks for
  any help you be able to give."

J. C. LIGHTHOUSE (1844-1909)

  From an American Numismatic Association press release:
  "The medal for this year's recipient of the American Numismatic
  Association's (ANA) Farran Zerbe Memorial Award for
  Distinguished Service is inscribed to Charles J. Ricard, Charles
  N. Ricard and the Lighthouse Family. When Charles J. Ricard
  accepts the Association's highest honor on August 2, he will
  proudly represent three generations of collectors and a century
  of contributions to the ANA.

  The family's numismatic story begins just prior to the Civil War
  with J.C. Lighthouse--a successful businessman from Rochester,
  New York, who operated a leather manufacturing and tanning
  firm, and was awarded a government contract for his invention
  of the U.S. Mail pouch.

  Lighthouse began collecting coins in 1860 and eventually used
  his wealth to assemble a fabulous numismatic collection of
  21,572 items that included 660 U.S. proof coins.  He hosted
  monthly coin discussions in his home, and he numbered among
  his guests the award's namesake, numismatist Farran Zerbe.

  On the invitation of Association founder George F. Heath and
  General Secretary Howland Wood, Lighthouse joined the
  ANA 100 years ago this year as member #479. Lighthouse
  faithfully exhibited at annual ANA conventions and was
  considered a founder of numismatic education.  He served on
  the ANA Board of Trustees from 1904 to 1907."


  Bill Malkmus writes: " To add to Chris Hoelzle's data on
  Mehl's Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia (which I have often
  wondered about myself) --

  I have a 28th ed. (1925) (as reported by Neil Shafer last
  week), a 31st ed. (1928), a 35th (1931), and a 52nd ed.

  The ANS catalog lists a 16th (1918), 29th (1926) (mentioned
  by Chris), 30th (1927), 32nd (1929), and a 36th (1932).
  The ANA catalog only refers to "various" eds., dates.)

  Charlie Davis in American Numismatic Literature lists a 7th
  ed. (1912) (in black morocco, no less) and an 8th (1913).
  Chris didn't say what issues he had between the 29th ed.
  (1926) and the 61st ed.(1959), other than the 45th (1938).
  Maybe reporting those would help give a good start.

  [The following list of editions and publishing dates was
  compiled from input provided primarily by Chris Hoelzle,
  Bill Malkmus,  Myron Xenos and myself.  -Editor]

  Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia
   7th (1912)
   8th (1913)
  14th (1916)
  16th (1918)
  20th (1921)
  22nd (1922)
  24th (1923)
  26th (1924)
  27th (1925)
  28th (1925)
  29th (1926)
  30th (1927)
  31st (1928)
  32nd (1929)
  34th (1930)
  35th (1931)
  36th (1932)
  38th (1933)
  39th (1934)
  40th (1934)
  42nd (1935)
  43rd (1936)
  44th (1936)
  45th (1938)
  46th (1939)
  47th (1940)
  48th (1940)
  50th (1942)
  51st (1944)
  52nd (1947)
  53rd (1950)
  54th (1951)
  55th (1952)
  56th (1953)
  58th (1954)
  60th (1957)
  61st (1959)

  NOTE: From the 28th though 40th editions the title was
  expanded to "The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia and
  Premium Catalog."

  Myron Xenos writes: "The Star Rare Coin Encyclopedia was
  always priced at $1 through the years.  The Star Coin Book
  2nd ed. (which was smaller than all future editions) had no
  price, but all the later issues bore a price of 50 cents.  The
  Star Coin Book jumps nine editions in six years, but I have
  not seen any but the 7th in between them.  It is possible that
  during these prolific years he printed new editions as the old
  ones ran out without respect to dates.  I'd be curious to hear
  comments from others who have runs of these emissions"

  Bill Malkmus adds: "The Star Coin Books, however, seem
  to have purposely been lacking in dating information -- none
  of mine help."

  The following Star Coin Book data was provided by Myron

  2nd (no date)
  4th (1910)
  7th (no date)
  13th (1916)
  through 49th (no date)


  One of Mehl's scarcest publications is The Star Coin
  Book Junior, a smaller version yet, priced at 25 cents.
  I have two examples in my library, both undated.  The
  first is lacking the front and back covers, but the title
  page states "Sixth Edition."  The second example is in
  superb shape, but presents a new mystery: the cover
  states "sixteenth edition" but the title page states "fifteenth
  edition."  Does anyone have other editions of this little


  Myron Xenos adds:  "Two more Mehl items that appear to
  be periodicals, as opposed to occasional emissions are first,
  Mehl's Coin Circular, of which I have only Mehl's number 14,
  dated May, 1932, color white, 32 pages.

  The second item is called Mehl's Coin Chronicle, mailed in an
  envelope which said Mehl's Circular, and was dated September
  1939, 24 pages, color orange and blue.  Were there more?
  The subscription price on both was "an occasional order."


  Two items in the July 18, 2003 issue of  MPC GRAM,
  an email newsletter for collectors of Military Payment
  Certificates, note how some interesting matched serial
  number notes were discovered after being entered into
  a shared database residing at

  Such a shared database for numismatic literature could
  provide answers to many questions like the mystery of the
  Mehl Star book emission sequence.


  David F. Fanning writes: "Who won the best Asylum article
  award for Vol. 19 (which would have been awarded at the
  2002 ANA)"  I can't find it listed in either the Asylum or
  E-Sylum, nor is it on the Web site. Thanks."

  [Once we find out we will update our web site so we
   have one place to go to for information like this.  I was
   unable to recall the winner with certainty myself,  even
   though I was there when it was announced.  Early
   Alzheimer's setting in, I suppose.  All the more reason
   for keeping our site up to date.


  Neil Rothschild writes: "Anyone having a copy of the Lyman
  Low Sale #149 of April 29, 1910 please email me.  I would
  like to get information on a few specific lots.    My address is
  nrothschild at"


  Dick Johnson writes: "The current issue of Topical Time, for
  stamp collectors of all topics, contains an article of interest to
  numismatists.   "Of Mints and Minting" is in the July-August
  2003 issue (page 35?37).  Written by Johann G. Meiring, a
  retired banker of Pretoria, South Africa, it's his second article
  relating to numismatics; the previous was "Early Media of
  Exchange" (Topical Time, Nov-Dec 2001).

  The present article includes stamps illustrating external views
  of mint buildings and views of minting equipment. Discussed
  are 27 stamps (with Scott numbers). Seven are illustrated,
  along with a 1983 souvenir booklet of Great Britain with a
  cover photo of dies and engraver's tools and a very brief
  story of the Royal Mint.

  Does any E-Sylum subscriber have an extra copy of this
  Topical Time issue which could be donated to the AMerican
  Numismatic Society library?  They are not a Topical Time
  subscriber and this article deserves to be cited in their library
  databank.    Otherwise I will send a photocopy.   Let me
  know at: dick.johnson at"


  Phil Carrigan writes: "Would anyone know about the
  following item from Hathaway and Bowers?

  Hathaway and Bowers Galleries, Inc
  Choice and rare  UNITED STATES COINS  for sale
  Catalogue No. 2  June 1969
  (one page, printed double sided in two column format)

  This list offers US half cents through nickel three cents
  and may be incomplete though it is not paginated."


  Inspired by our discussion of the odd numismatic collectibles
  that attract E-Sylum readers, David Lange writes:

  "For my collection of coin boards, albums and folders, I
  recently acquired a very interesting item. It is a zinc plate
  used to print the cover of one of Whitman's coin folders
  during the 1960s. As printing technology evolved during
  the 1970s and '80s, such plates were no longer used, and
  Whitman came up with a clever way to dispose of its stock.
  The letter that accompanies this plate tells the story. A form
  letter, it explains how such plates were often ground down
  and then retooled to keep up with changes in cover graphics.
  Below this typed text is a 1984 handwritten note from Dick
  Yeo, pen name R. S. Yeoman, explaining to the recipient of
  the plate that Whitman was sending these obsolete relics to
  their better wholesale customers as thanks for years of

  The plate I have is for folder No. 9038. This is Part Four
  of a four-part sequence covering the Liberty Seated Half
  Dollar series. This particular folder includes the dates 1873
  Arrows through 1891, a title no longer offered by Whitman.
  In fact, this catalog number has more recently been re-used
  for Washington Quarters 1988-2000, a title which, by virtue
  of the state quarters program, is itself probably no longer in

  The plate I have bears the eagle logo used by Whitman on
  its folders only during the years 1965-67, after which time
  it was replaced by the Western/Whitman globe logo. Now,
  here's the really strange part: Despite owning a folder for
  every edition for which this title was offered (1953-70),
  I'm lacking the one edition that bears the eagle logo! If
  anyone finds folder No. 9038 for Liberty Seated Half Dollars
  1873-1891 bearing the eagle logo on its front cover, please
  let me know. I want very much to acquire it for my collection
  or, at the very least, confirm that this plate was actually used."


  Dick Johnson writes: "A bill extending the life of the Abraham
  Lincoln Bicentennial Commission was signed by President
  Bush Monday, July 14th, which virtually guarantees the
  Lincoln cent will be struck through the Lincoln Bicentennial
  year, 2009. This is also the centennial year for sculptor Victor
  D. Brenner's Lincoln Cent design.

  As a coin denomination the Lincoln cent is under considerable
  economic pressure to be discontinued.  It circulates, from
  banks to retail outlets to customers, who in turn add them to
  a home accumulation and, more often than not, do not return
  the coins to circulation.  It is considered by some that a great
  economic benefit would accrue to discontinue the cent
  denomination and round up -- or down -- prices to the nearest
  five or ten cent price.  But more than two-thirds of all
  Americans want the cent to stay alive (according to a December
  2002 General Accounting Office report).

  The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission is planning a
  national celebration of Lincoln's 200th birthday on February
  12, 2009 and supports the issuance of the Lincoln Cent through
  that time. The commission was due to expire next year without
  Bush's signature on new legislation.

  Undoubtedly the 2009 celebration will be an occasion, like
  the birth centennial in 1909, for an outpouring of Lincoln
  numismatic and medallic items. The largest collection of 1909
  items was assembled by Robert Hewitt Jr, a New York City
  real estate operator and Lincolnophile, who donated his
  collection to the Smithsonian in 1918. Numismatist Robert P.
  King cataloged all Lincoln items and published his work in
  The Numismatist beginning in 1924.  It was later reprinted by
  the Token and Medal Society in 1966.

  Continued issuing of the Lincoln cent is supported by the active
  organization, Americans for Common Cents. Its director, Mark
  W. Weller, stated 'It's not just that the front of the penny [read:
  obverse of the cent] has had Lincoln?s image since 1909, it's
  what Lincoln did for our nation.'


  Col. Bill Murray writes; "The Dauer book, American History
  As Seen Through Currency, is introduced with some
  biographical material of the authors some introductory
  material to the subject of paper money collecting for the
  uninformed.  Chapter 1 gives a very brief history of the
  Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The remaining chapters
  carry titles of the various types of U. S. paper money. e. g.
  "Demand Notes," Legal Tender Notes." Silver Certificates,"
  et cetera."

  The book is obviously a vanity publication, and Dauer
  provides high quality, color illustrations of the various notes
  and then inserts snippets of historical information which
  occurred when the particular note or notes were issued or
  in circulation.  Examples:  Columbus included with a photo
  of the $1,  "Rainbow" note, Series 1869, with a separate
  enlarged illustration of the Columbus vignette from the bill;
  with a Legal Tender note, Series 1917, is a picture of Pres.
  Kennedy noting he was born, "the same year the note...
  was issued." Then he pictures a a letter from Goldwater to
  Kennedy expressing condolences on the loss of his son,
  then come pictures, from his collections, of the Executive
  Order appointing the Warren Commission and a letter
  from Pres. Ford, three pages of text and pictures of Marilyn
  Monroe ending with a photo of a letter, signed "as approved"
  by Marilyn Monroe, where she agrees to pay a dentist bill
  of Natasha Lytess, whoever that was; in the chapter on
  treasury notes, he includes, amongst others, a section on
  Stanton, Secretary of War under Lincoln and Johnson, and
  a  section on Pres. Johnson (with a picture of a ticket
  admitting the bearer to the Senate gallery for the
  "Impeachment of the President."

  The notes pictured often are extremely rare, even unique.
  Dauer also include much "impressive" stuff  from his
  obviously fine philatelic and autograph collections.  The
  material he owns is impressive to say the least. The photos
  make the book of interest since they provide the only chance
  most of us will ever get to see the most ot the items pictured.

   The book is worth owning for the beautiful pictorial
  presentation of his material, the inclusion of numismatic
  information of interest, to me at least -- no expert in paper

  I'd recommend those going to ANA in Baltimore might visit
  the Heritage table to look at the book, which presumably
  they will have on hand to sell.  I wouldn't call it a great
  numismatic nor a great history book, but I found it interesting."


  The power of the internet to bring people together never ceases
  to amaze.  Earlier this week I received the following note from
  retired Los Angeles Police Department detective Sherman
  Oakes (great name!), in response to our earlier discussion in
  The E-Sylum regarding the murder trial of coin dealer and
  author Frank Lapa:

  "A partial article was sent to me regarding a  article by Bill
  Rosenblum regarding Frank Lapa who was convicted of murder.
  The article had few facts, not even the identity of the victim.
  I was the detective that was assigned to the investigation.  If Mr.
  Rosenblum  in further details, he is more than welcome to
  contact me at any time."

  I forwarded the note to Bill Rosenblum, who corresponded
  with the gentleman and asked his permission to publish his
  information.  Bill writes: "The detective said he saw no problem
  with running this in the E-Sylum with the following caveat: "Just
  remember that it occurred twenty eight years ago and it is as I
  remember the facts.   The actual case file is in my barn and has
  not been looked at in over twenty years."   Here is Detective
  Oakes' account:

  "The Yablum murder generally took from three to four hours
  of explanation to the district attorneys office.  The murder
  drew a lot of attention in Chicago for several reasons.  John
  O'Brian of the Chicago Tribune was a friend of Ray Yablum,
  second the conspiracy was conceived in Chicago, third, one
  of the suspects was the nephew of  Machine Jack McGurn,
  who committed the St.Valentine Day Massacre.   There were
  other unrelated murders and crimes that were connected,
  including the robbery of the DuPont family rare coins.   The
  suspects in this crime were found executed not far from the
  crime scene.  Frank Lapa alleged that he had a rare dime from
  this collection.  The F.B.I. had a sting operation aboard the
  Queen Mary to buy the coin from Lapa on Saturday during the
  show.  That Friday night, we arrested Lapa for murder, and
  the sting never occurred.  The F.B.I. was outraged and in a
  sense became more of a problem than Lapa.  We had to
  release Lapa, due to lack of evidence.  The murder occurred
  on Friday the 13th.  It took a year and 13 days to solve the
  murder without a body.  After the arrest, we found the grave
  of Ray Yablum off  Sherman Hill near Bridgeport, California.

  The crime and conspiracy was as follows.   Ray Yablum was
  in possession of some rare coins (never recovered).  Due to
  his poor health, Lapa told him that he had met VanCleff, the
  owner of a jewelry store in Beverly Hills, who just happened
  to be a coin collector and would be on the same flight as
  Yablum from Chicago to Los Angeles.  Van Cleff was in fact,
  the nephew of Jack McGurn.  He introduced himself on the
  airplane and escorted Yablum to Lapa's ex-wife's house in
  West Los Angeles.  She was at work during this time.  When
  Yablum became suspicious, Frank Lapa picked up a heavy
  glass ash tray and hit him over the head.  They stripped the
  body and wrapped the head in plastic, and Yablum
  suffocated to death.  They transported the body to Northern
  California and buried him.   His grave was dug up by a
  mountain lion and a camper found the skeleton and called the
  sheriff's office.   After the arrest of Lapa, Mr.. & Mrs. Crosby,
  Lee Samuel Rusettos, his girlfriend, Patty Harder, who is now
  in the Witness Protection Program and Lapa's girlfriend who
  entered the U.S. Air Force and became involved in a Black
  Operation of unknown origin and basically disappeared off the
  face of the earth.  She was never heard from again.  All
  suspects were convicted.  The Crosby's committed suicide in
  Long Beach, California prior to sentencing.   During the follow
  up investigation, we served a search warrant on Lapa's
  ex-wife's residence.  The rear garage was surrounded by large
  bushes and trees on two sides.  The garage was not near the
  property line, which seemed strange.  We finally found a false
  wall that revealed a lab to manufacture rare coins.   We believe
  that Yablum's coins ended up with  Lapa's attorney, who died
  a short time later.  His wife was a pretty woman, sort of a wall
  flower, quiet etc.   The word was that after his death, she found
  new wealth and had shed the wall paper, and found a new and
  exciting life, who knows.  The whole story was interesting, and
  we had a movie offer, which never occurred.  One of Lapa's
  associates went to high school with me.  During investigation
  he was found murdered on the dividing line between West Los
  Angeles Division and Wilshire Division where I worked Homicide.
  West Los Angeles never solved that  murder, but they won in
  the end.  At the end of the Yablum murder, we discovered that
  he was in fact murdered in West Los Angeles Division, and they
  were credited with the solution statistically.   I am the only living

  person from the Yablum Murder, my partner died young of a
  heart attack, the District Attorney also died young.  If you
  have any questions please feel free to ask."


  David Gladfelter writes: "Ole Bull was also a utopian who
  founded Oleana, a colony in Pennsylvania.  It eventually failed
  as did other utopian colonies. But it is remembered in the folk
  song "Oleana" one verse of which goes: "If you really want to
  live/ To Oleana you must go,/ The poorest wretch in Norway/
  Becomes like a king in a year or so." Folksongs and Footnotes
  by Theodore Bikel, An International Songbook (New York,
  Meridian Books, 1960) p. 213."

  [A web search found a couple references to Oleana, near
  Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, not far from his friend Mickley's
  home city of Philadelphia.   In 2002, Paul W Heimel published
  a book titled "Oleana -  The Ole Bull Colony."


  Regarding last week's Featured Web Page, Larry Gaye writes:
  "I read the presentation on Canadian Tokens by Greg Burns
  and was delighted by it.  Thanks for posting the link and
  introducing a well presented web page."

  If you come across an interesting numismatic web site or web
  page, please let me know about it.  We tend to avoid commercial
  sites, but make exceptions for interesting content of a
  noncommercial nature.  Where do I find all these web sites?
  Mostly by dreaming up some more-or-less random web search
  terms, sometimes related to one of the items discussed at 10pm
  Sunday night before finalizing the week's issue.

  Why not try this yourself?   Pick some terms of interest to you
  and see what turns up.  Even if you've already made an
  exhaustive web search, new content appears daily and if you
  haven't done a search recently, it's time to try again.

  This week's featured web page is an article by J. Hunter
  Barbour from the pages of the Journal of the Colonial
  Williamsburg Foundation.  Titled "Enduring Images of War,"

  "DEPICTED IN THIS photographic essay are rare and
  precious representations of George Washington, as well as
  selected events associated with his service to America,
  chosen from the collection of Joseph R. Lasser of Scarsdale,
  New York. Each is a commemorative medal or medallion
  struck between 1778 and 1808, most to celebrate a man
  and his life, as well as the emergence of his nation."

  Wayne Homren
  Numismatic Bibliomania Society 

Content presented in The E-Sylum is not necessarily researched or independently fact-checked, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature.   For more information please see our web site at There is a membership application available on the web site.  To join, print the application and return it with your check to the address printed on the application.  Visit the Membership page. Those wishing to become new E-Sylum subscribers (or wishing to Unsubscribe) can go to the following web page link.

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